Something to also keep in mind, if you want to go to the airlines, they would absolutely love to see that you are an instructor. CFI is something I’m sure they actively look for, (CFI is of the hardest checkrides you will take from what I hear) and if you have your CFII,(Instrument Instructor) even better!
You need something like 2500hrs to get that ATP, but the flight school (atp) will set you as an instructor until you hit that mark or you do what a lot of people do, take your commercial ticket and go fly odd jobs. Won’t pay much but in the long run you’ll build time and experience.
Go bush flying in Alaska. Would be something I would do you know if I didn’t have a wife and kids ect…
Im pretty sure this should be 1500 hours, otherwise I think a lot of us would be reconsidering our decision to be pilots
College degrees are nice and all but the airlines are bleeding right now and need pilots. If you think you can get an ATP and 1500 hours within 4 years, you’ll make more than if you went the college route, and you won’t even have to deal with college loans (flight school loans, maybe). You could always go military too.
Yeah, you’re right
The regionals are paying way more now then when I got out of HS. Back then it was barely minimum wage
Not a commercial pilot and haven’t done anything remotely close to ATP, but I try and read about this sort of thing when I can because it’s interesting. Consider yourself disclaimed.
These are three out a potentially endless list of ways to earn your ATP. Stories I’ve heard:
- Graduate high school, attending a university flight school, towing gliders during summers, and going onto a regional
- Go to college, working in an unrelated field for a decade, earning all your ratings in a year, flying parachute jumpers for a year, then off to the airlines
- Military (Active, reserve, national guard, any branch, maybe even do something unrelated and use the GI Bill), then straight to the majors after maybe 10 or more years
- Fly gliders a bunch to build time, then finance yourself through a small part 91 flight school and look for jobs
- Get a corporate gig at 500 hours total time (helps if you know the right people)
- Decide to become an airline pilot. Quit your job, take all the writtens, live in a camper for a year while you speedrun checkrides with an instructor who only works with you. Then instruct to build time. Save some money before you try this one.
There’s a million ways to make it to an airline from where you are. Don’t feel like you have to have the whole thing planned out now — take it one step at a time. The only thing the people mentioned above have in common is a desire to fly, and that they never could have seen their path before they took it. Getting to Frontier, Sun Country, United, any of them is a long term goal that you don’t need to plan out entirely now. What’s important now is the first step.
The majority of folks here are flight simmers. You’ll get (and have already got!) some good advice from the pilots here, but I’d recommend asking this question on a pilot-centered forum. You’ll be able to talk to an endless supply of folks who have done all the career paths above, and many more.
After all, the only thing a pilot loves more than talking about planes is talking about themself flying a plane.
Word on the street is to be wary of ATP.
If you want to go to the airline fast ATP flight school will be your fastest and “cheapest” way. Keep in mind the people who are going to sun country and frontier are stellar student pilots - zero fails and a gold seal instructor while they build their time at ATP. ATP does a fantastic job to get you built for the airline world. They will not hold your hand and spoon feed you. Most of the info is self taught. If you are not heavily self driven or motivated you will not succeed in that program.
If you want self paced(go as fast or slow)part 61 would be way to go. ATP will not slow down for you. There are daily tasks that need to be done and if you start getting behind you will get a call from admin asking you what’s going on. If you keep struggling and not keeping pace they will kick you out of the program and give you only a portion of the money back.
So please keep all that in mind.
I went through the ATP program over a decade ago and got my instrument, commercial, Cfi, cfii and mei in 88 days. It was brutal to say the least and at one point I hated flying, but their program worked for me.
Given how much aviation has changed in the last 3 years I would want to get my ratings as fast as possible because if you haven’t heard it already- sonority is everything… in the airline world. It’s a difference between getting furloughed or keeping a job. It’s difference between having a schedule and not having one for 3 years.
To keep things in perspective. Every month you delay 40 people are ahead of you at frontier and around 70/month at United. That’s a min of 480 people ahead of you every year.
Go to ATP.
Get all your ratings.
Instruct for them.
Take online college classes.
Right after your 21st birthday head to the regional or if you were an exceptional student you would end up at frontier or sun country.
Where can I take them online college classes, that was some good information . I just went trip recently and I talked to the first officer and he said it took him 9 years to end up where he is now and 9 years seems like a long but if it’s what I have to do I would do it but he took the 4 years in college and 5 years in regional route
Trust me when I say this, there are physically not enough hours in a day to do online college and ATP flight school. I looked at it, thought a bit, and said nope. I’m not surprised that pilot split college and flight school, as both are very time consuming on their own
Hey marcel its been forever
Times are different now. My nephew is 22 is captain at republic. This month alone he had interviews with United, American and Fedex. He got CJO from two of 3. He’s waiting on his dream job to respond.
His total time is 2700 and only 100 part 121 PIC time. Let that sink it. My best friend got called from United when he had 5600TT just 7 years ago.
Grind. Grind. And just when you think you are burnt out grind Some more. As long as it doesn’t affect safety of flight, keep grinding. If my nephew can anyone can.
As far as online classes you can take them any university. Preferably an in state one that way it won’t be too expensive. Once you go to a regional and you want to continue getting your bachelors they will pay most if not all of it. Win win in my book.
Man how do you earn so many hours , its seems like alot now in the future its going to be all worth it i guess